Hiding Christmas

Was there a toy or thing you always wanted as a child for a Christmas gift, but never received?

angry xmas angel(Originally posted Dec. 2014)

As a child, I couldn’t stand to wait until Christmas to learn what my gifts would be. I drove myself crazy with excitement and anticipation.

When I was about 8 years old, I decided I simply couldn’t stand it any longer. I had a good idea where my mother hid gifts. I was actually a good kid who obeyed rules, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

When I found the gifts, up high on a shelf in a closet, I remember being very, very happy and excited by what I saw. But I was careful not to climb up on a chair to touch or move anything. That way I was sure I wouldn’t be found out. I felt very clever in my deception.

Funny, but as I write this,  I can’t remember what the gift was. I want to say it was a giant fire truck, which would have been in line with the kind of gift my father would give me, but at that age I was every bit the cliché little girl: I was heavy into Barbie dolls, playing dress-up, had dreams of being a ballerina and of owning a Palomino pony I would name Butterscotch. I can’t imagine I was excited about a truck, but whatever it was, I was thrilled to find it.

Christmas morning rolls around and nowhere under the tree is there a gift for me the size and shape of what I saw in the closet. We finished opening gifts, and I felt a bit frantic that the gift I saw hadn’t materialized. I decided to ‘fess up about sneaking a peek at the hidden gifts, and asked where the gift I saw was.

My mother gave me a wry smile I will never forget, as she proceeded to tell me she knew I had gone looking for the hidden gifts. She and my father decided to return that particular gift as my punishment for being naughty.

I was old enough to know pitching a fit was way out of line, primarily because I had been out of line in the first place, but I was nevertheless shocked and devastated. And mortified at being caught. To this day I am baffled how she knew I had gone looking for the Christmas gifts. Obviously, I was not as clandestine as I thought.

Years and years later, and now a grown adult, I was digging around in one of her closets for gift wrapping supplies. It was someone’s birthday and I hadn’t wrapped my gift. I stumbled upon my mother’s stash of various gifts; things she purchased throughout the year and put away until a birthday or Christmas came around. I was immediately catapulted back to that time I deliberately went looking for Christmas gifts and, even at my adult age, had a moment’s panic that I would once again be found out and punished for being naughty.

I never said a word about finding her stash, and feigned surprise when one of them did materialize as a Christmas gift for me. Maybe it was a little tit-for-tat on my part, but truthfully, it was more the fear of being found out that kept me from confessing I’d seen the gift months before. Trepidation of a parent’s scolding can stay with you, no matter how old you get.

3 thoughts on “Hiding Christmas

  1. I guess you learned that lesson well. My mom was particularly good at hiding gifts since she had five kids to hide them from. I think she just kept them at a friend’s house until Christmas Eve. That’s the only way I can think of to keep them hidden from five pairs of eyes. 🙂

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  2. Sorry, Mom, but I think that is a pretty severe punishment for a little girl. Perhaps just pretending they had returned it and then finally producing it would have taught the same lesson without the crushing disappointment. Mommy was naughtier than the child. Judy

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    1. Well, that was Mom for ya. She was a tough task master from a long line of task masters. Out of context it might sound harsh, but I’d bet it was a reaction born out of many attempts to get me to straighten up and fly right (I thought I was a good kid, but that’s my perspective. I didn’t have to parent me).

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